Wireless LCD project..need help!


New member
My group has been challenged to create a wireless wearable LCD
display. The display does not necessarily have to be self-contained, but would be quite nice if possible. It must have its own power supply, and enough memory (external if needed) to contain several messages to be displayed. Could anyone guide me in the right direction to begin? We definately like the LCD's offered by crystalfontz and plan on purchasing one for our project.
Which display would be best for this design? What will be the most difficult part of functionality? We would really appreciate any advice or help from those of you who know the limitations of LCD displays.

Thank you all for any help.
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New member
Let me clarify a bit more..not wireless, as in communicating with a computer, but wireless in that it must be standalone and not connected to a computer at all times. The display will connect to the computer to download various screens of data, disconnect, run on its own power supply, and display the screens one at a time in a loop. Again, thank any of you who can help us out a bit.

CF Mark

First since your on battery power, you probably wont be wanting a backlit LCD.
Although, you could use a 634/632 module with the backlight turned down. Since it uses PWM to control brightness, a low backlight level would use a lot less power.

Youll be needing to design/make a PCB to carry a microcontroller which you will then need to program to control what the LCD displays. Because of this, a serial LCD (634 or 632 modules) is probably overkill and would cause the project to be more expensive that it should be due to the extra interface components.

So using a HD44780 based LCD would be the best idea.
It will just be a matter of selecting the size and color of the display you want.
All the LCDs have detailed datasheets (on the web pages for the LCDs), and the HD44780 LCD controller is very well documented which will make programming of the microcontroller easy.

Anything i missed?


New member
Thanks for your reply. Most of our materials can be covered by the university, and we have set a rather high budget. We were aware of having to program a microcontroller, the question is though which one. I have read good things and bad things about the one you reccommended. Our professor mentioned using Basic Stamp. Do all of the crystalfontz LCDs come with microcontrollers? Or could basic stamp be easily added to any of them? We were also hoping to have some graphics on the display, but I dont' think basic stamp is capable of that. About the backlight, the display must really be bright. It is a high priority. How could we work a power supply into the design that would be adequate to power a backlit module?


New member
What I meant previously, was are all LCD modules based on a certain microcontroller..say for one HD44780 based, could you add an alternative controller.

CF Tech

For low power and small size, you could use a CFAX12864C-WGH.

Team it with a micro and a couple megs of external DataFlash and then write a utility on the PC to load the text (and images ;) ) into the flash through the micro.

CF Mark

HD44780s are made to be used via a parallel 8bit or 4bit interface with a microcontroller. They do not have thier own microcontroller.

The 632/634 displays do have thier own microcontroller. It cannot be reprogrammed.

BasicStamp, PIC, HC11, AVR, MSP430 come to mind for microcontroller choice.


New member
heres my suggestion...i'm also a student that uses these LCD's so i know where you're coming from.

get a Serial LCD for 1 main reason
RS-232 is easy to use

Atmel 163 or better...these processors are incredibly easy to use

i'm using this setup right now for a robot i'm building
using CodeVision AVR(which has its own program generator), i simply enabled the UART of the processor.

and then
printf("put anything you want here");

All you have to hook up is 3 wires!
Tx (from the UART)

can it get any easier?!

if you want sample code or anything else email me at jthahn@purdue.edu


New member
Need help please

First let me apologize for butting in here and being of no use to you guys with your project,it's just that I am at the end of my rope and what you guys are discussing seems to be close to what I am desperately searching for so I would like your opinions please,if you will,on the following:

I use my laptop to play music but I am away from it a lot of the times and constantly have to walk to and from the laptop to do a search for a song for people.I did a project by wirelessly controllling my laptop from a PDA,this worked ok but the wireless connection alone uses 57% of my total CPU and because I run high powered music software,my laptop freezes up sometimes.I would like an alternative to the "wireless" thing to cut down on that high amount of CPU usage.

I see 2 choices right now,I will need a screen of some sort while being away from the laptop so I can see what's going on in the laptop and I could use a wireless mouse to search for songs and load them in the playlist or I could use a sort of Touchscreen monitor that emulates the laptop's screen and functions.I guess any way I look at this picture I will need something "wireless" but the wireless pcmcia card is draining my system so if there is any other wireless method that doesn't tax my cpu too heavily,this is what I will need.

Is there ANYTHING you guys can think of that might help my situation please?Thanks for reading this and again,I sincerely apologize,regards,Mike.


New member
Same as mine

I have already created the basis of this project for myself.
Although I used an LED not LCD display and a PIC controller.
If you are going to make a PCB and have access to the right tools I recommend the PIC 16F876 TQFP version, this tiny chip is quite powerfull and has enough IO lines to drive a full 8bit mode LCD as well as serial port and many left over.
My 'Badge' scrolls pre-programmed messages or will display direct input from the serial port. A serial bootloader in the PIC allows me to upload new software via the serial port.
I was additionally going to add IR to it so that badges could talk to each other and exchange info, but as I only ever made one there was no point.
There is a C compiler for PIC that is available quite cheap, and even some free ones so programming is easy.
I hope all this helps.


New member
im trying to make something of a similar purpose, think you can explain your plan in a more detailed way?

brief description
im attempting to create a small independent lcd screen system that would be imbeded in my case, but still be connected to a serial port when certain condition are met.. like anti virus scan complete and such..

I would like a message to scroll (like a screensaver) type deal even if the computer is turned off, any help would be appreciated.


New member
If you mention using a Basic Stamp module, chances are you are not very familiar with microcontrollers. those things are made for garage mechanics.

I have your project done, it runs off 3 cell battery pack. it can control a 12x2 or a 8x2 LCD like the ones crystalfontz offers. the PCB is done, code is written (all though you will probably need something slightly different). The PCB size is 2"x2" and uses a Motorola HC08GP32 micro.

The wireless part is tricky. how fast, how far away, and how much data will be transmitted.


New member
wireless LCD badge from bluetooth mobile phone

Hi guys
I'm a starter with high-tech, and need to write a proposal for a compeitition, I have an idea of creating a wireless LCD (not necessarily LCD actually ) badge (or any other accessories), which would be operated by bluetooth mobile phone. So that MMS messages can be displayed onto the badge for 'street exhibition'. Ideally, it can be of real time, instead of the user pre-enter what image is going to be next. Also, is it possible to make several ppl telling a narrative between their badges??

Where should I start now? What do I actually need and how do I make this work as a feasible design...

All i know now is that I would need:

a screen
mobile phone
receiver (.. dunno how this thing work though..)


New member
If you have unlimited budget and you won't get penalized for not using stuff in the project then I'd do this.

1. http://www.iguanalabs.com/mbkit.htm 8051 has a book and some stuff you can practice with and a burner.

2. Get two of http://www.iguanalabs.com/adc2051.htm RS232 This will allow you to connect the 8051 to a computer. If you get two then you can also connect the chip to one of the LCD OR

3. http://www.iguanalabs.com/mbklcd.htm An LCD screen that you can prototype. Once you get it all working then you can go up to one of the Crystalfontz screens.

If you need help with the programming part then you should also get a book called The 8051 Microcontroller and Embedded Systems by Muhammad Ali Mazidi and Janice Gillispie Mazidi. This is for Assembly programming and not C++ though you can use C++ if you prefer. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/103-0205381-4031068

Now like I said; this is only if you're on an unlimited budget. I would be getting everything that people are suggesting because while you might have an unlimited budget; you will not have unlimited time unless you're on a special program. With that said. The kits above and the book will help you in achieving your goal. And while there is not a whole lot of crystalfontz in that list; this list is only meant as a prototype. When you do the real thing then you might want to take out #3 for a crystalfontz screen. You might not even want to go with #2 RS232. There could be some wireless solutions. I even have a part list for a radio if that's something you want to try. But right now; get everything and try it.

*You also need a compiler, which I used to have one. I'll keep looking for the name of one you can use. Also check 8052.com


New member

Hi ...

Have a look on my latest development ..



I have other Wireless LCDs projects also , like ...

Wireless Pager .. ( 256 - terminals in 1 network )
Serial LCDs .. etc ..



elect_design_eng2{at]hotmail{dot)com (edit to '@' & '.')